St. Bernardus Prior 8 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

2,417 Ratings
St. Bernardus Prior 8St. Bernardus Prior 8

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Style: Dubbel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 09-27-2002

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Ratings: 2,417 |  Reviews: 1,058
Photo of Carloman
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: a crisp layer of supple, yet petite suds drift atop this cacao-amber colored ale.

S: invisible particles of deep forest soil waft into the back of the throat whilst a glint of elderberry flirts with the nose.

T: this drink speaks softly but carries a large stick. Simultaneously packing both a light peppery punch and silky nectary sweetness, it makes its presence felt with a subtle nod and the tip of hat.

M: there almost seems to be a soft skin to every sip, like the kind that forms over grandma's tapioca pudding. This, however, instantly melts away into a ripple of spritz that winks at your palette.

O: This beer is clearly quality. If I have one qualm with it, it is that it is almost too unassuming. The flavors are developed and sophisticated, yet sometimes are so delicate and understated that they border on anti-climactic. The Prior 8 consistently dazzles you, but never quite delivers that knock out blow.

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Photo of Converge
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle poured into a 14.9oz goblet.

A - One finger of bubbly, light-beige head off the pour. Deep, almost opaque, amber-burgundy color. The head recedes to a thin, soapy cap, and leaves behind a bit of lacing.

S - Surprisingly strong malt presence, with a lot of bread and biscuit like malt. Belgian yeast and candi sugar, as well as dark fruits, spices, and a light nutty undertone. Figs, licorice, and blackberries.

T - Full flavor right off the bat. First sip begins with tons of dark fruit, candi sugar, and bready malt. Finishes with a lot of spices, a hint of dark chocolate and a dry yeastiness. Aftertaste is warming alcohol. Almonds, black cherries, figs, plums, currants, and brown sugar are all identifiable in this dubbel. Not quite as well crafted as the Pater 6, but still a thoroughly enjoyable flavor profile. Alcohol is masked well under the mixture of fruits and spices.

M - The body on this one is fantastic. Smooth, perfect viscosity, and fair carbonation. Well done.

D - Another home run by St. Bernardus. As I mentioned, a slight step below the Pater 6, but a fantastic and flavorful dubbel nonetheless. If it wasn't for the 8.0% ABV, I could drink a ton of these.

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Photo of grittybrews
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy, nutty brown into a tulip with two fingers of light khaki yeast-flecked head. Mild biscuit/cookie aroma with gentle nutmeg and clove.

Slightly high carbonation and great mouthfeel -- full, creamy, and dry on the finish. Nutty biscuit up front followed by subtle banana, clove, and a slight tartness on the finish.

Nicely balanced, full-flavored, and completely easy-drinking. Very tasty and not too sweet.

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Photo of DUBinMIA
3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a chalice from growler. hazy mud brown color with 1 in. head that is almond color and diminishes to about a 1/4 in covering.

smell is of malt and some floral hop notes... not as aromatic as i was expecting for this beer.

taste is rich in malt flavor that starts smooth and finishes crisp with an alcoholic tang at the very end.

very full bodied an filling beer. lower carbonation than i expected but doesn't effect the mouth feel that much

overall this is a good beer. probably my 2nd favorite from Waton topped only by ABT 12... A MUST TRY!!!

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Photo of benfons
3.84/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: nice thick head, mud brown colour, you can't see anything through it not really appealing to be honest

S: chocolate, blackberries and raspberries, plums

T: malts, roastiness, a hint of clove, bittersweet finish

M: medium body, right amount of carbonation, enough alcohol

O: Not bad but not something I get excited over

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Photo of divineaudio
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap @ the the trappist in san francisco.
served in a silver rimmed st. bernardus goblet.

a - a perfect pour by the bartender yields a hazy, reddish brown liquid with a finger of creamy, tan head. head eventually calms to a thin film with thick swaths of sticky lace in the glass.

s - clove, caramel, freshly baked bread, cinnamon, candi sugar.

t - starts off spicy with clove notes and moves quickly into sweet, sugary malt. more spice rolls in than fades into a bittersweet finish. well balanced but definitely malt forward.

m - heavier side of medium, feels prickly on the tongue due to the yeast/spicy characters in the flavor. medium carbonation.

o - a damn fine beer. thoroughly enjoyable and recommended.

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Photo of metter98
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy brownish amber in color and poured with a thin off white head that eventually completely faded away, leaving only a thin ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are sweet aromas of candi sugars in the nose along with some hints of dark fruits.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is sweet (but not cloying) and has flavors of candi sugars and hints of fruit.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a light amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink, especially as it warms up, because no traces of alcohol are detectable. This is a very good representation of the style.

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Photo of iheartIPA
3.62/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky autumn brown. The 3-4 finger head disappears almost as fast as it arrived. There is a fair amount of dredge floating and settling to the bottom. No lacing to speak of. All in all, not the prettiest Dubbel I've seen.

I'm digging the aroma. It takes a couple of good swirls and some big inhalations, but it is pleasing. Caramel apples, cherries, fig. There is a "dryness" in the aroma, reminiscent of a red wine. A hint of booze.

The taste is surprisingly sour. Not overly sour; I just wasn't expecting it. I'm reminded of purple grapes picked too soon. The tartness is balanced fairly well with the aforementioned sweetness of the fruit and caramel. Unfortunately, this brew doesn't finish well for me. Dark fruit sweetness gives way to an unpleasant bitterness and dryness (not unlike a cheap Merlot) remains

Average mouthfeel. Slick at first (hop oils?). Seemed to get thinner with every sip.

I'm not crazy about this Dubbel. I wouldn't turn one down, but I don't imagine I'll be buying another in the near future.

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Photo of schwaeh
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle I've had since xmas.

A: Pours a dark woody-brown color with 2 fingers of foamy white head. Great lacing.

S: Smells of sweet caramel, spicy Belgian yeast, candy sugar, bready malt, and dark fruits-figs, raisin, plum. The smell has me won over already.

T: Sugary sweet caramel, candied plum and fig. The raisin flavor comes through very strong as do the toasty malts. This is sugary but brewed very well so it isn't sickening, it just works great with the body and flavors. The alcohol is modest.

M: Good solid body with fluffy carbonation.

O: I love this style and I love this beer. This is a classic. I wish I could afford to drink this all the time because it never gets old. I can't remember if I like this more than the Pater 6 but the alcohol does seem to come out a lot more in this one. This is a solid Dubbel and a no-brainer to try out.

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Photo of jmvecchio1
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Prior 8 pours out a deep reddish brown with a thin amount of lacing on top with little head retention.

The smell is both creamy-buttery and fruity - all while the malts flirt around in the background of the aroma.

The taste is a little sour up front, but it gives way to a fruity and slightly sweet drink. There's a slight amount of hop oil that lingers on the tongue after the sip along with a warming alcohol sensation.

The drink of this beer is very enjoyable and not overpowering in flavor for a Belgian abbey.

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Photo of rvdoorn
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: the beer pours a dark amber brown color with a nice head.
Smell: toasted malts, yeast, caramel, dark fruits and spices (clove?).
Taste: Malts, grains, sweet dark fruits, clove and hops. In aftertaste is a bit bitter, spicy and alcoholic.
Mouthfeel: medium carbonation and medium mouthfeel.
Overall: nice dubbel, but can not compete with westvleteren, achel and rochefort

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review adapted from notes taken 2/5/11

Appearance: Dark ruby/amber brown, with a thick, foamy head, great lacing

Smell: Sweet malts, candi sugar, dark fruits, Belgian yeast - some interesting spices, too - smells like a dubbel should

Taste: Sweet bread, dark fruits such as figs, some toasted malts, some spices - some nice Belgian yeast - slightly tart - a great example of the style, but not as exciting as some other dubbels

Mouthfeel: Super smooth, bubbly carbonation - kind of dry despite the sweetness, which is interesting

Overall: A borderline excellent dubbel

When I first had this beer, I thought it was truly excellent. Upon a re-review, I found it to be less than perfect. It's less complex than some others. Tasty, nonetheless.

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Photo of kgwine
3.3/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The dark amber/brown color was appealing, but the bubbles were big and a bit clunky. I do love champagne, and I like tiny compact froathy bubbles. This is a "naturally carbonated" brew, but I've experienced better.

There is a definite malty toasty nose. Caramel and toffee - but subtle.

Rather quick on the 'ol taste buds. There is a spicy almost cinnamon note when left on the palate for a few seconds. With a few sausages in the frying pan sizzling at the time of this writing, I have a feeling that a food pairing will increase my perceptions of this beer.

Overall, a nice brown ale. I generally prefer a bit more bitter flavors, but with food, I think this one 'll do!

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a chimay goblet.

A: Dark, a rich black colour with a head that fades slowly to a small layer of foam.

S: A very fresh smell, reminding me of summer, but with the addition of rich dark fruits.

T: I get malts first that quickly start to compete with a hoppy taste which adds some bitterness and the whole thing mellows out as you swallow. A salty cheese and onion flavour emerges and puzzles me before I realise I have dropped a crisp into the glass...

Overall a very good brew, mellow yet complex and a pleasure to drink. Addition of cheese and onion crisp not recommended.

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Photo of meatyard
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark, hazy, cola color with a 1-finger, short lived head that retreats to a small cap in the middle without lacing.

The smell is caramel malt driven with candy sugar.

The taste is, at first, a bit of alcohol, then a noticeable spicy flavor (especially cloves) & caramelized malt. There are some fruit flavors in here as well, particularly figs.

Mouthfeel is full leaning, slightly yo medium with spare carbonation.

Overall: I expected a bit more though it's still a very good beer, The clove taste is more evident than I would like. This and the Pater 6, while very different beers, don't compare with the quality of the Abt 12. Look for the 12.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into an imperial pint glass. The bottle reads “can be aged for up to 10 years”. I know this bottle has at least a year on it, possibly two, but nowehere close to 10.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a very large off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains Belgian yeast, caramelized malts, apples, spices, brown sugar and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts with sweet flavors of caramel, brown sugar, apples and some spice. Then a strong breadiness comes in from a Belgian yeast and a hearty malt character. The hops presence is mild but complementary and creates a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, good kick, very good representation of style, this is a solid Belgian-style beer worth drinking for a while but it’s not quite as outstanding as some other beers from St. Bernardus.

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Photo of AdamBear
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-murky chestnut with a thin cream colored head

S-smells like bread and molasses. very grainy smelling. medium strength

T-comes in strong with a flavor of bread and holiday spices. its a good and complex flavor. the after-taste is very similar with more focus n the spice. i really like this. every sip seems to unfold a new flavor.

M-medium carbonation with a crisp finish

O-this is a wonderful beer. its quite different than the other dubbels i've had, not as sweet, this seems to have a different flavor profile to me. this seems to be more complex and sophisticated to me than the others. every time i go to take a sip, i get excited. i definitely won't mind getting this again. its quite tasty and goes down very easily.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.1/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap in a bar in Ghent, Belgium, into a St. Bernardus goblet. Reviewed from notes.

A: 2.5 fingers of excellent cream, tan head, and lovely thickness. Black colour.

Sm: Caramelized malt. Hops. Moderate strength.

T: Hoppily (can we adverb this?) built body, caramel, and subtle nut notes. Quite nice. Complex. Fairly well balanced.

Mf: Nicely smooth and wet, but far from perfect. Doesn't quite complement the flavours of the body.

Dr: Hides its high ABV quite well, but is nothing special, especially by Belgian standards. Wonderful but average - if that makes sense. Very well priced in Belgium.

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Photo of msnow34
3.44/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours mahagony with a decent head, into a chimay chalice. Initial smell and taste sour, and cidery. Thinking i'm going to drain pour after i finish the chalice, but I give it a chance and allow it to warm, maybe served a little too cold. Smell, plums and raisins(disclaimer i have a bad sense of smell) Tastes very sweet, perfect level of carbonation. mouthfeel light and smooth, head retention is minimal. Overall not a bad beer, but most likely wouldn't try this one again, if I did i would allow it to warm to correct temperature first.

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Photo of nickthetick
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a lot like the 6; mahogany with ruby tints into a St. Bernardus ballooned goblet with a finger of khaki head that leaves nice lacing.

S: caramel and toffee, figs, dates, spices and cloves. Bananas and apples add a decent fruity-ness.

T: deep roasted malt, caramel and dark belgium brewing sugar. Spicy and apple pie-esque with other fruity notes like bananas and plums. There is some warm alcohol notes.

MF: a tad heavy but not too filling. Warm and spicy/sweet.

O: great beer but I wish the alcohol wasn't so noticeable. I'd grab the 6 first.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is medium brown colored with a tannish head. The beer is hazy and you cannot see through it. The aroma is caramel and toffee with some molasses mixed in. I also get a little bit of dark fruit. The flavor is full of caramel, Belgian yeast, candy sugar and a little bit of grape/other dark fruit. The alcohol is barely noticeable and the beer is very easy to drink. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of crnipeter
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Re-rated 09-19-2012.

Pours murky brown with reddish depth and thick, creamy light-tan head that sets to a stable collar.

Inviting sweet malt aroma with caramel qualities that embraces esters of raisins, banana and apple as well as clove-like, peppery and perfumy aromatics is reminiscent of mulled wine.

Flavor is malty sweet with dried fruits: rum-raisins in particular, clove and spicy phenols, and touch of bitterness before the medium-dry finish.

Medium full body with creamy texture and moderate carbonation, and some alcohol warmth. One of the finest Dubbels out there (330 ml, BB 08-18-2016, into tulip).

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice dark amber brown with, Huge lively carbonation and streams of bubbles ripped through the glass, this looks like it has teeth!

The smell was very spicey at first, tingled the nose. Hints of dark fruit, pears, apples, cinnamon, figs, I could go on. A kind of candy sweetness almost to it as well. Spices and fruits are all over the spectrum and I don't even know where to begin. Pears, figs, cinnamon again are all over this. Cherry maybe, definatly apple.

awesome beer, truly a hallmark of the style, simply impeccable.

 530 characters

Photo of shand
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a chalice.

Since I just so happened to come upon a bottle of Westy 12, I think it's time for me to start seriously venturing through Belgium. This one pours a muddy brown color with a big head that quickly settles down. The aroma is filled with fruits, most of them being dark fruits like figs and plums, but I get an apple character from here as well. This one is surely loaded with the dark fruits, nudged along by some zesty yeast, sugar, and bready malts. The apple sweetness comes through a bit on the finish. Aftertaste really doesn't linger too much.

The mouthfeel is a bit on the lighter side of medium bodied and incredibly briskly carbonated. The drinkability is quite good, especially for the ABV. Could all the Trappist and Trappist-style beers be this good? Have I been writing off Belgian beers entirely due to American breweries poor heavy-handed use of Belgian yeast in styles where it doesn't belong? It's too early to call that for sure, but this is a great beer. Suddenly I'm looking forward to my tour of Belgian beers.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 fl oz. bottle, best by 07 09 15, poured into a Chimay chalice. Deep, murky brown body with a big, fluffy, two-finger tan head. The head settles into a nice creamy cap and leaves some nice lacing along the glass.

The aroma is surprisingly understated, even as it warms. Just a bit of dark fruit and some bready malt notes.

Thankfully, the flavor steps it up a notch. Tasty blend of dark fruit, sweet malt, spicy yeast notes, plum, apricot, and just a hint of walnut. Complex and tasty.

Medium and smooth in the mouthfeel. High level of carbonation that works well. Excellent brew.

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St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,417 ratings.
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